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weekly_rounds_may_13_2019_members_speak_we_listenWeekly Rounds: May 13, 2019 - Members Speak, We ListenLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_may_13_2019_members_speak_we_listen<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly_Rounds_Article_Image_645x425.jpg" /></div> <h5>May 13, 2019</h5> <h2>Members Speak, We Listen</h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> I recently heard from a member who is frustrated and disappointed with the recent <a href="">20 percent business and occupation (B&O) tax increase</a> passed by the state Legislature, as well as the <a href="">new IT requirements mandated as part of the omnibus opioid prescribing bill</a>. Here at the WSMA, we share his distress. These are not the results we had hoped for this legislative session. But with Democrats sweeping into control of the Legislature after several years of tight partisan splits, we knew that pocketbook/professional issues would face an uphill climb in the 2019 session. </p> <p> This member, who operates in an independent practice of five physicians and two nurse practitioners, will be particularly hard hit. That was a point I articulated <a href="">in my recent editorial in The Seattle Times</a>. He put an even finer point it, saying, "This may be a game changer for our clinic trying to stay independent." </p> <p> His is the voice legislators need to hear. Yours are the stories we need to tell. These are the connections we need to make. If we—all of us—don't loudly, clearly, and aggressively make legislators understand the impact they have on patient care and patient choice in their communities, then the deck will continue to be stacked against us. </p> <p> I am grateful that this physician reached out to me to share his frustration, because through our exchange, I invited him to let us help connect him with his legislators so he can share his story directly. I'm delighted that he agreed. We are working now to connect him to his local legislators at his practice, where they can see firsthand how decisions they make directly impact patients, who are also their constituents. This is the value of each of you being engaged in your professional society. </p> <p> Friends, our work is far from done; this is a long game. The WSMA will use our influence during the interim (the time between legislative sessions) to prepare for next year's session where we'll fight to roll back the B&O tax and advance better payment for physicians. We won't give up, and I implore you not to either. You need to stand with us to help advocate on behalf of the profession and our patients. This work is never done. </p> <p> Right now, we are actively working to connect members with their local legislators so that they can invite them in and share their stories. If you'd like to be part of this effort, email me at <a href=""></a>. In addition, the board of directors of WSMA's political action committee, WAMPAC, will be meeting next week to develop our giving strategy as it relates to legislators and candidates who support our professional agenda. Stay tuned for more on this effort. </p> <p> In the meantime, let's not overlook that we had some good wins this session! WSMA's Olympia team will be debriefing members on these wins and other session results during a free lunchtime webinar on May 15—<a href="">register for the event online</a>. </p> <p> In addition, we are also working on our annual WSMA legislative wrap-up report, which provides an in-depth look at legislative session outcomes and new policies impacting medical practices, and features a "report card" on how your local legislators voted on WSMA's priority issues. Look for this in your mailbox later this summer. </p> <p> Keep the comments and suggestions coming. You can email me at <a href=""></a>. I'm happy to come and meet with you individually or as a group, and our other WSMA leaders are as well. </p> <p> And also of note, later this summer we will launch a WSMA "road tour," traveling to Spokane, Bellingham, and Vancouver to hear from you directly. I hope you and your colleagues will join us at these events. We are a member-driven organization, and your involvement drives our agenda as we strive to achieve our mission of providing strong leadership and advocacy that shapes the future of medicine and provides access to care for all Washingtonians. </p> </div>5/13/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
challenges_and_gains_mark_2019_legislative_sessionChallenges and Gains Mark 2019 Legislative SessionLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190508/challenges_and_gains_mark_2019_legislative_session<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/Leg-Session-Updates-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> May 8, 2019 </h5> <h2>Challenges and Gains Mark 2019 Legislative Session</h2> <p> The 2019 state legislative session was gaveled to a close on Sunday, April 28, marking the end of one of the most challenging sessions in memory for the physician community. While there were bright spots, they were overshadowed by several high-priority issues that will adversely impact the bottom line of physicians, particularly those in independent practice. </p> <p> The WSMA was particularly disappointed with the passage of the following proposals: </p> <ul> <li><a href="">A tax bill</a> that imposes a 20 percent surcharge on the business & occupation (B&O) tax paid by independent physician practices and clinics. The bill spares hospital systems from the tax increase. </li> <li><a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190508/public_option_bill_passes_with_rate_setting_provision.aspx">A "public option" health insurance plan for Washington state</a> with physician reimbursement rates capped at 160 percent of Medicare, a precedential move by the state to limit reimbursement in a commercial health care plan. </li> <li><a href="">Legislation expanding wrongful death liability</a>, exposing physicians and other entities to more lawsuits and higher awards.</li> <li><a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190508/the_good_and_bad_of_new_opioid_legislative_policy.aspx">Costly IT mandates on physician practices and health care facilities</a> , including a mandate to integrate with the state's prescription drug monitoring program and a mandate to use an electronic prescribing system.</li> </ul> <p> There were also, thankfully, important victories achieved this session for <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190508/session_ends_with_landmark_public_health_wins.aspx">public health</a> , the state's <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190508/state_budget_includes_mental_health_investments_b_and_o_increase_passes.aspx">mental and behavioral health system</a> , and for <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190508/more_wins_whistleblower_protections_fee_setting_transparency_advance_directives.aspx">WSMA-initiated bills</a> , covered separately in this issue of the Membership Memo (and be sure to watch the final <a href="">episode in our legislative update video series featuring WSMA's own Katie Kolan, JD, and Sean Graham</a>). For a more in-depth look at new policies impacting medicine, register to attend our lunchtime <a href="">session wrap-up webinar</a> on Wednesday, May 15, and keep an eye out for our yearly publication, the WSMA Legislative Report, mailed to members this summer. </p> <h3>What's next?</h3> <p> As we all know, the legislative process is a long game—good (and bad) policies are often the result of many years of hard work in, and outside of, the Legislature. There will be opportunities to amend laws we are concerned with and opportunities to repeal wrongheaded policies like the B&O tax increase. Our work is far from over, and we will continue to need the engagement of our members and the physician community as we gear up for the next state legislative session in January 2020. </p> <p> As we prepare for our conversations with legislators during the interim (the time during which the Washington State Legislature is not in session), we will remain focused on developing and advocating for policies that will positively impact the bottom lines of physician practices, while continuing to highlight the importance of access to care for patients. After all, physicians can only deliver care if they can keep their doors open—an "on-the-ground" reality that legislators need to develop a better understanding of, and a message the WSMA will continue to hammer home through every available means (see this <a href="">Seattle Times opinion column from WSMA CEO Jennifer Hanscom</a> as the latest example). As your premier statewide physician professional association, our resolve has never been stronger, as we fight for policies to make Washington a better state to practice medicine and increase the influence of the physician voice in Olympia and beyond. </p> </div>5/8/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
introducing_wsmas_problem_solving_leadership_courseIntroducing WSMA's Problem-Solving Leadership CourseLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190508/introducing_wsmas_problem_solving_leadership_course<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/HeadShots/Ed-Walker-Circle-Portrait-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> May 8, 2019 </h5> <h2>Introducing WSMA's Problem-Solving Leadership Course </h2> <p> As physicians mature in their roles, they face increasingly complex problems. With experience, leaders recognize the problems they are trying to solve are complex, adaptive problems that involve personal style, group dynamics, and cultural components that resist easy solutions. For these seasoned physician leaders, the WSMA now offers an intensive three-day adaptive-learning course that examines these challenges and provides the tools necessary to solve them. The WSMA Problem-Solving Leadership Course, held June 20-22 in downtown Seattle, will provide additional growth opportunities for physicians who have completed our Physician Leadership Course and have moved on to middle levels of management in their facilities. </p> <p> This course is led by Edward A. Walker, MD, MHA, professor emeritus in the departments of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and health services at the University of Washington in Seattle. This course is limited to 12 physicians who must be nominated by a mentor, supervisor, or peer. Learn more about <a href="">WSMA Problem-Solving Leadership Course</a>. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Creditâ„¢</em>. </p> </div>5/8/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
last_chance_to_act_medical_commission_releases_rulemaking_for_license_renewal_fee_increaseACT NOW: Public Comments on License Renewal Fee Increase Rulemaking Due May 7Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190424/last_chance_to_act_medical_commission_releases_rulemaking_for_license_renewal_fee_increase<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/take_action_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5>May 2, 2019 </h5> <h2>ACT NOW: Public Comments on License Renewal Fee Increase Rulemaking Due May 7</h2> <p> The Washington Medical Commission has released its proposed rule to raise license renewal fees for allopathic physicians and physician assistants and is now accepting public feedback. The draft rule proposes a 54 percent increase for MD license renewal (from $657 to $1,012) and a 96 percent increase for PA license renewal (from $202 to $396). </p> <p> The WSMA remains deeply concerned regarding the physician and PA communities' ability to absorb such a dramatic increase in their fees, particularly those clinicians working in primary care, in smaller practices, and those serving in professional shortage areas. </p> <p> Importantly, after a careful review of the breakdown of cost drivers as provided by the commission to support its fee proposal, the WSMA believes strongly that the commission has not sufficiently justified and supported the fee increases. The WSMA has prepared <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2019/WMC_Fee_Increase_CR-102_Comment_Letter_May_2019.pdf]">a formal response to the proposed CR-102 rule that details our concerns regarding the commission's justifications</a>. </p> <p> The commission has set a brief timeline for commenting on the proposed rule—<strong>public feedback is due by this Tuesday, May 7</strong>. The date of intended adoption of the rule is May 17. </p> <p> This is the final chance for the physician and medical community at large to object to these fee increases. Let them know how this increase would impact you and tell them you endorse WSMA's formal comment letter (feel free to cut and paste from the letter). </p> <p> To comment: </p> <ul> <li>Review the <a href="" target="_blank">proposed rule</a> here or by visiting the <a href="">Medical Commission rules webpage</a>. </li> <li>Email your comments by using the Department of Health's Rules Commenting webpage at <a href=""></a> (look for WAC 246-919-990).</li> <li>Submit written comments by mail to Nancy Elliott, c/o Department of Health, P.O. Box 47850, Olympia, WA 98504-7850. </li> <li>A public hearing on the rules is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 7 at the Department of Health, Town Center 2, Room #158, 111 Israel Road SE, Tumwater, WA 98501. </li> </ul> <p> Thank you for taking action today on behalf of all physicians, PAs, and patient care in Washington state. </p> </div>5/2/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_apr_29_2019_your_service_matters_become_a_leader_at_the_wsmaWeekly Rounds: Apr. 29, 2019 - Your Service Matters: Become a Leader at the WSMALatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_apr_29_2019_your_service_matters_become_a_leader_at_the_wsma<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly_Rounds_Article_Image_645x425.jpg" /></div> <h5>April 29, 2019</h5> <h2>Your Service Matters: Become a Leader at the WSMA </h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> Leadership is one of WSMA's strategic priorities; perhaps an obvious choice as we strive to influence and shape the future of the medical profession. And we've heard, loud and clear, from our members that leadership development is one aspect of our work that they value highly. That's another reason why we work so hard to bring top-ranked educational opportunities to the medical community, through our <a href="">leadership courses and conference</a>. </p> <p> I spend a fair amount of time thinking about leadership and what it takes to be a leader. I'm inspired by this quote from <a href="">Tim Elmore</a>, president of Growing Leaders, an international nonprofit that works to develop emerging leaders: </p> <p> <em>"Leadership is a calling on every one of us, to some degree. It's about becoming the person we were meant to be. It is less about position and more about disposition. It is not so much about superiority but about service in the area of our strengths. It has less to do with a set of behaviors and more to do with a perspective with which we view life."</em> </p> <p> What resonates with me in that quote is the emphasis on service. It reminds me of the Rotarian motto, "service above self." In my experience working with physicians, I've seen how they embody service and leadership in everything they do, from providing care to contributing expertise, experience, knowledge, vision, and wisdom to their patients, teams, and communities. </p> <p> Now, more than ever, we need strong physician leadership across all aspects of the profession. With challenges in the house of medicine, the shifting landscape of health care, the unpredictable direction of federal legislation, and the need to emphasize the quadruple aim in medicine, physicians must be directly involved in leadership in order to navigate a better way forward for the profession and patients. </p> <p> The WSMA depends upon strong physician leadership to represent the voice of physicians and patients as we seek to shape the future of health care in Washington state. We need your voice, your leadership, your service. </p> <p> I'm personally inviting you to consider being part of that leadership by nominating yourself or a colleague for consideration for a position on the WSMA board of trustees or executive committee. I'm highlighting this today because we have just extended the deadline for nominations to May 10. As a leader in the profession, your voice and service within the WSMA matters. </p> <p> I urge you to take a moment just now to consider this. More information about the desired qualifications, a roster of current board members, a nomination form, conflict of interest disclosure statement, and <a href="">candidate information sheet are available here</a>. </p> <p> Further, here are a few things to note about the nomination process: </p> <ul> <li>The WSMA nominating committee meets in early June to prepare a slate of nominees.</li> <li>The slate is presented to the House of Delegates at its 2019 Annual Meeting, scheduled for Oct. 12-13 at the Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center. </li> <li>The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 10, although additional nominations may be made from the floor of the House of Delegates.</li> <li>In considering yourself or colleagues for nominations, consider whether you or they are: <ul> <li>Well-informed</li> <li>Forward thinking</li> <li>Committed to the future of the profession</li> <li>Committed to service and the profession above oneself </li> <li>Experienced, enthusiastic, credible, and open-minded</li> <li>Able to put the WSMA above personal desires or agenda</li> <li>Capable of serving as a future president of our state medical association</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> It takes bold leadership and a strong sense of service to tackle the challenges facing the profession, your patients, and our communities. If you believe in our mission to provide strong physician leadership and advocacy to shape the future of medicine and advance quality of care for all Washingtonians, I hope you will consider this opportunity. </p> </div>4/29/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
vulnerable_patient_health_care_jeopardized_by_proposed_b_and_o_tax_increaseVulnerable Patient Health Care Jeopardized by Proposed B&O Tax IncreaseLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/April/vulnerable_patient_health_care_jeopardized_by_proposed_b_and_o_tax_increase<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="" src="/images/Misc/Press-Release-Graphic_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>April 25, 2019</h5> <h2>Vulnerable Patient Health Care Jeopardized by Proposed B&O Tax Increase</h2> <p> Seattle, Wash. - A proposed increase to Washington state's business and occupation tax now under consideration in the House of Representatives would have a devastating impact on health care access for the most vulnerable of populations, especially children, a coalition of physicians and other health care providers vehemently opposed to the measure warned Thursday. </p> <p> <a href="">House Bill 2158</a> would increase the B&O professional services tax on independent physicians and medical practices from its current rate of 1.5 percent to 1.8 percent—a total increase of 20 percent. Physicians practicing within large hospitals or organized medical centers will not incur the tax. </p> <p> The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), Washington Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics (WCAAP) and the King County Medical Society (KCMS) are among those adamantly opposed to this proposed B&O tax increase because of its impact on the most vulnerable patients they serve – especially the lowest of income and rural populations. </p> <p> The proposed B&O tax would have the following effects: </p> <ul> <li>Limit access to care: Adding additional taxes onto physician practices could force many physicians to stop seeing Medicaid patients to stay financially viable. This will have a particularly significant impact on pediatricians and independent pediatric clinics.</li> <li>Medicaid payment for some medical care in Washington State decreased more than 30% in 2015, when a two-year federal provision to maintain Medicaid-Medicare equity ended. Currently Medicaid payment to physicians for pediatric care in our state is two-thirds of Medicare payment. And Medicare is considered a "floor" – the bare minimum to possibly cover costs. This makes it difficult for providers to continue to see children insured by Medicaid today. </li> <li>In Washington one in every two children relies on Apple Health for health coverage, but payment often doesn't cover the cost of care. As a result, multiple rural and suburban clinics have closed or no longer accept children on Apple Health. </li> <li>Lack of timely preventive care leads parents to rely on expensive, episodic care in urgent care and emergency rooms. Washington state's current Medicaid payment rate creates a tiered system of care in this state, where children with private insurance have timely access to cost-effective medical care and children enrolled in Medicaid do not. If Washington state fails to invest in adequate Medicaid payment and increases the B&O taxes, health care for our most vulnerable populations will be significantly hindered. </li> </ul> <p> The B&O tax increase would also: </p> <ul> <li>Disproportionately harm those in private practice and independent medical clinics—about a third or more of our state's physicians.</li> <li>Put an enormous strain on many practices' ability to remain economically viable and competitive in today's marketplace. The tax only applies to physicians' services delivered in a private practice or independent clinic, which puts these doctors at a competitive disadvantage to their peers practicing in hospital-based medical groups, which are protected from the increase.</li> <li>Result in a loss of jobs, impact the ability of practices to invest in innovations that improve patient safety and population health and stifle their ability to be competitive in today's marketplace, as independent physician practices run on very tight margins. </li> <li>Limit independent practices' ability to make investments in EHRs, comply with increasing regulatory burdens or hire more people, effecting the economy in many communities.</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA, WCAAP and KCMS represent thousands of physicians in Washington state and are collectively asking the legislature to exempt all physicians from the B&O tax increase to protect the vital health interests of our communities. </p> <p> "Medicaid-dependent patients are already having a hard time getting seen, especially in more rural areas," said Dr. Frances Chalmers, MD, a recently retired pediatrician with Skagit Pediatrics in Mount Vernon, WA. "Patients aren't able to get the basic medical care they need, so many put off preventative care, which leads to more chronic illnesses, treatment in expensive urgent care or emergency room settings, and long term health problems that cost us all far more in the long run," said Chalmers, a longtime member and trustee of the Washington Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics. </p> <p> "On behalf of the Washington State Medical Association, I urge our elected officials not to raise this B&O tax on health care services, which would unfairly impact our state's independent practice physicians, and stands to increase the cost of health care at a time when patients can least afford it" said Tom Schaaf, MD, Washington State Medical Association president. "And make no mistake, even though the tax unfairly targets independent physicians--roughly 40% of our state's active practice physicians--it will impact our patients, as the tax increase threatens these practices' economic viability in an increasingly competitive marketplace. This is tax is unwise and unfair for both patients and physicians, and we urge lawmakers to exempt our state's independent physicians from this tax increase." </p> <p> "We need to focus on the children. Especially special needs, at-risk, Medicaid Insured, rural children," said Nancy L. Belcher, PhD, CEO of the King County Medical Society. "Nearly 50% of children are on Medicaid statewide. A high percentage of those children live in more rural areas. A greater number of children with special health care needs are on Medicaid. Make no mistake. Pediatricians in physician-owned practices that serve these populations will be hit hard. More clinics will close, more patients will go without care," Belcher said. </p> <p> <strong>For more information, contact:</strong> </p> <p> Graham Short<br /> Washington State Medical Association<br /> 206.956.3633<br /> <a href=""></a> </p> <p> Jennifer Donahue<br /> Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics<br /> 206.713.1087<br /> <a href=""></a> </p> <p>Josh Kerns<br /> King County Medical Society<br /> 206.920.1482<br /> <a href=""></a> </p> <p> <strong>About the WSMA</strong> </p> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine for more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>4/25/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
state_proposes_changes_to_public_health_reporting_requirementsState Proposes Changes to Public Health Reporting RequirementsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190424/state_proposes_changes_to_public_health_reporting_requirements<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Concepts/doctor_tablet_steth-foreground_645px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> April 24, 2019 </h5> <h2>State Proposes Changes to Public Health Reporting Requirements</h2> <p> The state Board of Health and Department of Health are conducting rulemaking and are accepting public feedback on proposed changes to requirements related to notifiable conditions, those patient diagnoses physicians and other providers are required to report to the state for public health purposes. As the draft rule may constitute an administrative burden, the WSMA is encouraging clinician review and input on the state's proposal. </p> <p> The draft rule and related details are available on the <a href="">DOH website</a>. The rulemaking would add notification and specimen submission requirements for new conditions and conditions currently identified as "other rare diseases of public health significance." The purpose of these changes is to simplify and improve usability of the rules in order to increase reporting for these conditions, and to better protect public health by improving the understanding of emerging conditions, allowing more thorough case investigations, and improving the public health response to disease. </p> <p> To comment on the draft rule, email <a href=""></a> with the subject line "Notifiable Conditions" by Monday, April 29. This is the first opportunity to comment; there will be a second opportunity when the next round of rulemaking on this issue is released. </p> </div>4/24/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
washington_set_to_become_34th_state_to_ban_personal_exemptions_for_mmr_vaccinesWashington Set to Become 34th State to Ban Personal Exemptions for MMR VaccinesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190424/washington_set_to_become_34th_state_to_ban_personal_exemptions_for_mmr_vaccines<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/HB-1638-SignedbyGov-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> April 24, 2019 </h5> <h2>Washington Set to Become 34th State to Ban Personal Exemptions for MMR Vaccines</h2> <p> <em>[Update May 10, 2019: Gov. Inslee has signed the bill, with Alan Melnick, MD, MPH, WSMA member and Public Health Director and Clark County Health Officer, in attendance.]</em><br /> In a major victory for public health in our state, lawmakers in the Legislature have approved <a href="">House Bill 1638</a>, which will increase immunization rates in Washington communities by eliminating the personal and philosophical exemption for children's measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The bill now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. </p> <p> The bill passed the Senate last week with a vote of 25 to 22, with two excused, with lawmakers managing to <a href="">fend off multiple last-minute attempts to water down the bill language with amendments or delay passage altogether</a>. Returning to the House for a final vote, HB 1638 passed out of the Legislature this week with a vote of 56 to 40. WSMA legislative staff expect the governor to sign the bill in the days ahead. </p> <p> Washington will become the 34th state that disallows personal and philosophical exemptions for MMR vaccinations required for school entries once the governor signs this essential legislation into law. Children with medical contraindications to vaccines can still be granted exemptions. </p> <p> Physician advocacy has been essential throughout the legislative session in advancing this bill, through testimony before lawmakers, media outreach, and direct action. Thank you to all who have provided testimony and responded to our calls to action on this issue—your actions have made a difference. </p> </div>4/24/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
washingtons_health_care_community_applauds_state_legislature_for_passage_of_mmr_vaccine_billWashington's Health Care Community Applauds State Legislature for Passage of MMR Vaccine BillLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/April/washingtons_health_care_community_applauds_state_legislature_for_passage_of_mmr_vaccine_bill<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="" src="/images/News/Bill-Progress-Graphics-HB-1638-Signed-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>April 24, 2019</h5> <h2>Washington's Health Care Community Applauds State Legislature for Passage of MMR Vaccine Bill</h2> <p> Olympia, Wash. - The Washington State Medical Association and the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, together with the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials and members of the Public Health Round Table, which all together represent tens of thousands of physicians and other stakeholders in the Washington state health care community, applaud our state Legislature for the passage of legislation that eliminates personal and philosophical exemptions to school entry requirements for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine (HB 1638). This improvement to Washington state law will increase MMR vaccination rates, providing important and potentially life-saving protections for children and other medically vulnerable persons in our communities. </p> <p> Washington will become the 34th state that disallows personal and philosophical exemptions for MMR vaccinations required for school entries once Gov. Jay Inslee signs this essential legislation into law. Children with medical contraindications to vaccines can still be granted exemptions. </p> <p> The measles outbreak in Clark County, as well as outbreaks currently happening in other parts of our country, are stark reminders that high immunization rates are necessary to protect children and the public-at-large from vaccine-preventable diseases. In order to do this, we must achieve the highest proportion of people who are vaccinated to help protect those who cannot be vaccinated, including children too young to be vaccinated, pregnant women, people with immune system problems, and those who are too ill to receive vaccines, such as some cancer patients. This is called "herd immunity." To achieve herd immunity for measles because of the disease's extreme contagiousness, at least 95 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated. Vaccinated individuals not only protect themselves from disease, but also play a critical role in protecting others in their communities. </p> <p> Washington's medical community is committed to increasing vaccination rates for all childhood vaccinations to protect every Washington resident and help our state realize the promise of a future free from vaccine-preventable diseases. We will continue to honor our mission as health care providers by educating our patients, their families, and the public on the safety of vaccines and the importance of having children vaccinated. </p> <h3>Messages From the Washington State Health Care Community</h3> <p> "Speaking on behalf of the Washington State Medical Association, we are grateful for the courage and thoughtfulness of our state lawmakers who championed this important public health policy. We are also grateful for the many advocates in the physician and public health community who stood strong for vaccination policy that protects our patients and communities. As physicians, we know vaccines save lives, and that prevention is preferable to cure. As partners in fostering good health in our communities, we are here to help our patients and their families to make the best health decisions they can, and this bill will help us do just that."<br /> <strong><em>—Tom Schaaf, MD, president of the Washington State Medical Association </em></strong> </p> <p> "The recent measles outbreak served as an alarm, and today our legislators bravely stood with facts over fiction. The core reason we are seeing measles outbreaks across the country is the loss of community immunity due to the rise of vaccine exemptions for personal and philosophical beliefs. We applaud our state legislature for protecting our children and other medically vulnerable persons in our communities by eliminating personal and philosophical exemptions to school entry requirements for the MMR vaccine. Pediatricians will continue to partner with parents to dispel the misinformation fueling the drop in vaccination rates and the rise of preventable disease."<br /> <strong><em>— Rupin Thakkar, MD, FAAP, president of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics</em></strong> </p> <p> "Improving measles vaccination rates can prevent outbreaks from occurring—protecting children, families, and the most vulnerable in our communities who cannot be vaccinated." <br /> <strong><em>—Jeff Duchin, MD, Public Health Seattle-King County</em></strong> </p> <p> "Local public health is at the root of our public health and health care system and has been in the epicenter of the recent measles outbreak. Local health jurisdictions see the cost of poor vaccination rates and the impact from outbreaks in our communities, schools, and businesses. Vaccines are proven, time and again, to prevent outbreaks from occurring—protecting our most vulnerable in our communities and reducing the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases."<br /> <strong><em>—Alan Melnick, MD, Clark County Public Health </em></strong> </p> <p> <strong>For more information, contact:</strong> </p> <p> Graham Short<br /> Washington State Medical Association<br /> 206.956.3633<br /> <a href=""></a> </p> <p> Jennifer Donahue<br /> Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics<br /> 206.713.1087<br /> <a href=""></a> </p> <p> <strong>About the WSMA</strong> </p> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine for more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>4/24/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
Watch_This__WSMA_Special_Report_on_Whistleblower_Bill_SigningWatch This: WSMA Special Report on Whistleblower Bill SigningLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Advocacy_Report/2019/Watch_This__WSMA_Special_Report_on_Whistleblower_Bill_Signing<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><a href=""><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/Legislative-Special-Report-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></a></div> <h5>April 22, 2019 </h5> <h2>Watch This: WSMA Special Report on Whistleblower Bill Signing</h2> <p> </p> <p>WSMA physicians were at the capital last Friday to be in the room as Gov. Jay Inslee signed <a href="">House Bill 1049</a>, which provides protections for health care provider whistleblowers, into law. <a href="">Watch our special report on the bill signing</a>.</p> </div>4/22/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
Watch_This__WSMA_Legislative_Update_with_Katie_Kolan_April8-12Watch This: WSMA Legislative Update with Katie KolanLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Advocacy_Report/2019/Watch_This__WSMA_Legislative_Update_with_Katie_Kolan_April8-12<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><a href=""><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/WSMALegislativeUpdateVideo_645x425-2.jpg" class="pull-right" /></a></div> <h5>April 15, 2019 </h5> <h2>Watch This: WSMA Legislative Update with Katie Kolan</h2> <p> </p> <p>In this week's legislative update video, WSMA Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Katie Kolan covers the top five "what you need to know" issues as the regular legislative session enters its final stretch: 1. a call to action on the public option; 2. the MMR vaccination bill; 3. the governor's opioid legislation; 4. Tobacco21 bill signed; and 5. budget negotiations and the potential of a special session. Check out this week's video <a href="">here</a> and find archived videos <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p> </p> </div>4/15/2019 10:42:52 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_apr_15_2019_taking_action_makes_a_differenceWeekly Rounds: Apr. 15, 2019 - Taking Action Makes a DifferenceLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_apr_15_2019_taking_action_makes_a_difference<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly_Rounds_Article_Image_645x425.jpg" /></div> <h5>April 15, 2019</h5> <h2>Taking Action Makes a Difference</h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> As I write today's Weekly Rounds, I am on a plane headed to San Francisco to represent the WSMA and all of you at a Physicians Foundation board meeting. Even as I write, things are heating up in Olympia as we draw near to the scheduled end of session (April 28). The WSMA team there is working nonstop to protect the interests of our members, their patients, and the profession. </p> <p> In short, there's a lot going on! I'll highlight just five things here for now: </p> <p> First, as you've likely seen, we've sent several urgent calls to action on multiple topics recently: wrongful death expansion, business and occupation (B&O) tax increase, and the public option bill. Thank you for taking the time to contact your legislators on these important matters. Your emails and calls do make a difference and we need you to continue to be engaged. April 17 is the cutoff for bills to be voted out of the opposite chamber (i.e. for <a href="">House bills to pass the Senate</a>). Our team in Olympia is working hard to salvage our priority bills and shut down attempts to move bad policy bills forward. </p> <p> Next, after many years of negotiation, the WSMA has reached an agreement on balance billing legislation that protects patients from unexpected bills and is fair for the physician community. The bill, which has passed both the House and the Senate and will soon be headed to the governor for his signature, includes: </p> <ul> <li>No statutory reimbursement rate or mechanism for out-of-network payment subject to the bill, requiring carriers to reimburse out-of-network physicians at a commercially reasonable rate.</li> <li>Physician-friendly dispute resolution process with no reference to Medicare rates as an arbitration criterion, and claims bundling allowed over a two-month timeframe.</li> <li>Addressing the ERISA problem with an ability for self-insured health plans to opt in to complying with the law, and a mechanism for physicians to verify the nature of a health plan (i.e. whether it complies with the law and/or whether a patient can be balance billed). </li> <li>Direct payment from carriers to physicians (prohibiting carriers from routing payment through patients).</li> <li>Strengthened network adequacy requirements for carriers.</li> <li>Workable requirements for physician groups pertaining to transparency and enforcement of the law.</li> </ul> <p> I want to acknowledge the good work of Sean Graham, WSMA's director of legislative and political affairs, and all the physicians who worked with him to find a path forward for addressing this difficult issue. We know this law—however physician-friendly—poses challenges for the physician community. We're committed to helping practices implement the law and will continue to advocate during the rulemaking process to make the law as fair to physicians as possible. </p> <p> Third, last week's WSMA e-newsletter, Membership Memo, featured updates on what's happening in Olympia, including news that Gov. Jay Inslee signed one of WSMA's priority pieces of legislation: raising the age of sale for tobacco and vapor products in Washington state from 18 to 21. This is a major victory for public health and for physician advocacy in our state. As WSMA President Tom Schaaf, MD, noted in our press release, "This is the fifth legislative session where Washington's physicians have fought for policy to raise the tobacco and vaping purchasing age. In this instance, the fifth time's the charm. It's a reminder to all of us that the health and well-being of our patients, families, and loved ones is worth fighting for, no matter how long and hard the fight." The new law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. </p> <p> Next, the WSMA Foundation received a year-long grant from the Physicians Foundation to pilot a practice transformation initiative at several sites throughout Washington state. Congratulations to Allegro Pediatrics, EvergreenHealth Medical Group, Family Care Network, Kaiser Permanente, MultiCare Health System, The Everett Clinic, UW Valley Medical Center, and Virginia Mason for being chosen to participate with the WSMA, the AMA, and the Physicians Foundation on this journey to advance research and promote evidence-based solutions that improve patient care by enhancing professional fulfillment and reducing clinician burnout. </p> <p> Finally, more than 10 years ago, the WSMA recognized the unique needs of physician medical executives in the hospital setting. We partnered with the Washington State Hospital Association to create a joint chief medical officers workgroup. Since that time, the group has evolved to include medical officers at large independent clinics. Our <a href="">Medical Officer Safe Table Learning Collaborative</a> offers a forum for medical officers to engage with and learn from each other on topics such as patient safety and quality; wellness, burnout, and impairment; leadership development; policy; culture change; and other shared challenges all CMOs face. The group meets three times a year and all medical officers are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Jessica Martinson at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> This quick rundown barely scratches the surface of all we're doing just now, but you're busy and my plane is about to land, so I'll wrap this up. Thanks for your engagement with the WSMA, and for taking time to read about our work. </p> </div>4/15/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
WSMA_Whistleblower_Bill_Passes_Senate__Heads_to_Governor_s_DeskWSMA Whistleblower Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor's DeskLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Advocacy_Report/2019/WSMA_Whistleblower_Bill_Passes_Senate__Heads_to_Governor_s_Desk<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/Bill-Progress-Graphics-Whistleblowers-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> April 12, 2019 </h5> <h2>WSMA Whistleblower Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor's Desk</h2> <p><em>[Update April 23, 2019: Gov. Inslee has signed the bill during a ceremony with several WSMA member physicians in attendance. See our <a href="">WSMA Special Report video</a> for more.]</em> </p> <p> <a href="">House Bill 1049</a>, which will make it safer for physicians in Washington to speak up against wrongful actions, has passed out of the Senate with a unanimous vote, and now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee's desk for his signature. </p> <p> The bill will provide the necessary protections and clarifications to make it easier for health care workers to speak out when they witness wrongdoing, without fear of retaliation and regardless of employment status or relationship to an organization. Provisions of HB 1049 will: </p> <ul> <li>Ensure nonemployed physicians have the same protections regarding peer review and whistleblowing as employed physicians.</li> <li>Provide protection of the identity of physician whistleblowers, protection from retaliation, and legal remedies, including the ability to file suit seeking damages and attorneys' fees. </li> <li>Give physicians the ability to seek an injunction in some cases to regain a position or privileges in case a physician has been kicked off a medical staff in a process conducted improperly. </li> <li>Amend the peer review chapter of the Washington statutes to require that any medical staff sanction process that may result in the revocation, suspension, or reduction of medical staff privileges or membership be conducted in accordance with medical staff bylaws.</li> <li>Require that peer review be conducted according to criteria in the federal Healthcare Quality Improvement Act. The law was established in 1986 to encourage good faith professional review activities of health care entities. </li> </ul> <p> The bill's provisions, written in response to resolutions from the 2016 WSMA House of Delegates meeting, were brought to legislators by the WSMA. The governor is expected to sign the legislation into law. Thanks to the many WSMA delegates and members for their support of this issue! </p> </div>4/12/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
call_to_action_support_amendment_to_wrongful_death_billCall to Action! Support Amendment to Wrongful Death BillLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190410/call_to_action_support_amendment_to_wrongful_death_bill<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="" src="/images/News/take_action_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>April 12, 2019 </h5> <h2>Keep the Pressure On: Act Now on Public Option and Wrongful Death Bills</h2> <p><em>[Note: Article updated April 12, 2019]</em></p> <p> We need you to take action on two important bills being considered by Washington lawmakers: Tell your lawmakers "no" to Senate Bill 5526, the public option bill with physician rate setting, and urge them to support an important amendment to Senate Bill 5163, the wrongful death bill, that would limit a defendant’s liability to only their proportional fault. Your voice is crucial to this debate - please act today! </p> <h3>Public option: NO on SB 5526</h3> <p> Lawmakers in Olympia this year have been considering legislation to establish a public option health insurance plan that would be offered for sale on the state’s health insurance exchange. Affordability of health insurance is an important issue, and the WSMA has been actively participating in these negotiations, trying to increase and improve the insurance options available to our patients while vehemently opposing any public option solution that relies on rate setting for physician reimbursement. </p> <p> In its current form, <a href="">SB 5526</a> would establish a public option that caps reimbursement to physicians at a percentage of Medicare (150 percent, based on an insurance carrier’s aggregate reimbursement to health care providers and facilities). The bill would also direct a study of how physician participation in the plan could be mandated in future years. Finally, the current version of the bill removes a provision limiting how much carriers can profit from offering the plan—meaning that only physicians and hospitals would be asked to sacrifice to make the public option viable. </p> <p><strong>Act today: Contact your state senator and urge them to oppose SB 5526 and any public option that includes a rate cap for physician reimbursement. </strong></p> <p> <a href="" class="TextButton">Take Action</a> </p> <h3>Wrongful death: Support amendment to establish reasonable limit to liability</h3> <p> <a href="">SB 5163</a>, pertaining to wrongful death lawsuits, would broadly expand who can sue in cases of wrongful death and what types of damages they can recover—and as a result, dramatically increase physicians’ liability. </p> <p> The WSMA and a broad coalition of health care industry partners support an amendment to SB 5163 that would limit a defendant’s liability to only their proportional fault, rather than apply the current joint and several liability law to this new group of people who would be able to bring a suit. We think this amendment is a much more reasonable approach: It allows accountability for those who have not been able to sue under existing law but holds defendants responsible for only their proportion of fault. </p> <p> <strong>Act today: Contact your state House representatives and urge them to support the amendment to SB 5163. </strong></p> <p> <a href="" class="TextButton">Take Action</a> </p> </div>4/10/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
gov_inslee_signs_tobacco_21_legislationGov. Inslee Signs Tobacco 21 LegislationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190410/gov_inslee_signs_tobacco_21_legislation<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/Bill-Progress-Graphics-HB1074-T21-Signed-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> April 10, 2019 </h5> <h2>Gov. Inslee Signs Tobacco 21 Legislation </h2> <p> Gov. Jay Inslee has signed House Bill 1074, raising the age of sale for tobacco and vapor products in Washington state from 18 to 21 and solidifying a major victory for public health and for physician advocacy in our state. "This is the fifth legislative session where Washington's physicians have fought for policy to raise the tobacco and vaping purchasing age. In this instance, the fifth time's the charm," said WSMA President Tom Schaaf, MD, in a <a href="">press release</a>. "It's a reminder to all of us that the health and well-being of our patients, families, and loved ones is worth fighting for, no matter how long and hard the fight." The new law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. </p> </div>4/10/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
ldc_speaker_focus_ibm_watson_health_cho_paul_dechant_mdLDC Speaker Focus: IBM Watson Health CHO Paul DeChant, MDLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190410/ldc_speaker_focus_ibm_watson_health_cho_paul_dechant_md<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/LDC-Speaker-Paul-DeChant-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> April 10, 2019 </h5> <h2>LDC Speaker Focus: IBM Watson Health CHO Paul DeChant, MD</h2> <p> This year's Leadership Development Conference, May 17-18 at Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan, will explore the changes needed at the organizational and leadership levels to create healthier, more fulfilled physicians. In this special speaker focus, we'll introduce management coach, author, and health executive Paul DeChant, MD, MBA, FAAFP, the deputy chief health officer with IBM Watson Health. </p> <p> Dr. DeChant, coauthor of "Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine," takes a different approach to burnout, looking beyond treatment to identify how health care organizations can reduce and prevent burnout. In his presentation at the conference, Dr. DeChant will help attendees develop a plan to implement a management system and culture that both empowers physicians to remove barriers and frustrations in patient care and aligns clinicians to support organizational strategic priorities. </p> <p> With more than 25 years of clinical and management experience in medical group leadership and expertise in Lean management and preventing physician burnout, Dr. DeChant is uniquely qualified to bring solutions to the table. As CEO of the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, the 300-physician medical group achieved the highest overall rating of 170 medical groups in California two years in a row, and provider satisfaction improved from the 45th to the 87th percentile in the AMGA Provider Satisfaction Survey. DeChant blogs regularly at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> The WSMA Leadership Development Conference is designed for physicians at all leadership levels, regardless of specialty or practice setting, and gives attendees a chance to enjoy prime learning, networking, and recreational opportunities in a beautiful lakeside resort setting. <a href="">Learn more about the Leadership Development Conference and register today</a>. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Creditâ„¢</em>. </p> <p> Note: Campbell's Resort is currently sold out. Call the resort directly at 800.553.8225 to be put on its waitlist in the event a room becomes available. Other local accommodations include Grandview on the Lake, 0.2 miles from Campbell's (509.682.2582), and Lakeside Lodge & Suites, less than 2 miles from Campbell's (509.682.4396). </p> </div>4/10/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
session_update_maternal_health_rx_drug_costs_greenhouse_gas_emissions_and_moreSession Update: Maternal Health, Rx Drug Costs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and MoreLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190410/session_update_maternal_health_rx_drug_costs_greenhouse_gas_emissions_and_more<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/Leg-Session-Updates-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> April 10, 2019 </h5> <h2>Session Update: Maternal Health, Rx Drug Costs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and More</h2> <p> A little over two weeks remain in the 105-day state legislative session, with lawmakers scheduled to adjourn sine die on April 28. The WSMA continues to advocate for strong policy on behalf of physicians and patients, as Senate and House hearings on hundreds of bills enter the final stretch. The following is a look at priority legislation heard in committees in the past week. </p> <h3>Week twelve (April 1-5) highlights</h3> <p> (HB = House bill; SB = Senate bill) </p> <p> <strong>Maternal mortality reviews</strong> – <a href="">SB 5425</a> was heard by the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, April 1. The bill, supported by the WSMA, would extend and expand the state's maternal mortality review panel. </p> <p> <strong>Foundational public health services</strong> – In good news for our state's public health system, <a href="">HB 1497</a> was signed into law by the governor on Wednesday, April 3. The WSMA supported this legislation, which defines a core set of foundational public health services and stipulates that funding be appropriated to the Office of Financial Management. </p> <p> <strong>Opioid overdose medication</strong> – <a href="">HB 1039</a> was heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday, April 3. The WSMA supports this legislation, which would increase access to opioid overdose medication at K-12 grade schools and higher education institutions. </p> <p> <strong>Balance billing</strong> – <a href="">HB 1065</a> was heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday, April 3. HB 1065 would protect patients from balance bills while ensuring physicians are fairly reimbursed and that incentives to contract for insurance carriers are maintained. WSMA's Sean Graham testified on the bill, acknowledging the compromise agreement that has been reached on this issue. </p> <p> <strong>Prescription drug cost</strong> – <a href="">HB 1224</a> was heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday, April 3. The WSMA supports this bill, which was amended on the floor to grant the Office of the Insurance Commissioner certain review powers over pharmacy benefit managers, including review of financial records; exempt ERISA plans from establishing a fiduciary duty to insured; and exclude HMOs from the pharmacy benefit manager definition. </p> <p> <strong>UW behavioral health teaching campus</strong> – <a href="">HB 1593</a> was heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday, April 3. The WSMA supports this legislation, which would create a behavioral health innovation and integration campus at the UW School of Medicine. </p> <p> <strong>Children's mental health</strong> – <a href="">HB 1874</a> was heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday, April 3. The WSMA supports this legislation, which would expand access to adolescent behavioral health care by implementing policies from the state's children's mental health workgroup. </p> <p> <strong>Expanding behavioral health workforce pathways</strong> – <a href="">SB 5633</a> was heard by the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, April 3. WSMA's Sean Graham testified in support of this bill, which would support and expand current behavioral health workforce academic and career pathway programs. </p> <p> <strong>Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from hydrofluorocarbons</strong> – <a href="">HB 1112</a> was heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Thursday, April 4. The WSMA supports this legislation, which would phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons in various applications in the state. </p> <h3>This week </h3> <p> High-priority items on the schedule for week 13 (April 8-12). </p> <p> <strong>Wrongful death</strong> – <a href="">SB 5163</a> was added to the House Rules Committee hearing calendar on Monday, April 8. The WSMA supports an amendment to this bill to lessen its negative impact on physician liability—if you haven't yet contacted your House lawmakers, <a href="">do so today</a>. </p> <p> <strong>“Cascade Care” public option</strong> – <a href="">HB 1523</a> was scheduled for executive session in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Monday, April 8. WSMA has shared its strong opposition to any final legislation stemming from HB 1523 or its companion, SB 5526, that establishes a Medicare-based provider payment limit. </p> <p> <strong>Prescription drug cost</strong> – <a href="">HB 1224</a> was scheduled for executive session in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Monday, April 8. The WSMA supports this bill. </p> <p> <strong>Balance billing</strong> – <a href="">HB 1065</a> was scheduled for executive session in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Monday, April 8. The WSMA supports the bill in its current amended form. </p> <h3>What's next?</h3> <p> All bills must be passed off the floor of the opposite chamber from which they originated by next Wednesday, April 17 to still be eligible for final passage by the governor. </p> </div>4/10/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
flu_activity_surging_not_too_late_for_flu_shotFlu Activity Surging; Not Too Late for Flu ShotLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/April/flu_activity_surging_not_too_late_for_flu_shot<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/vaccination_arm_and_shot.v2_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>April 5, 2019</h5> <h2>Flu Activity Surging; Not Too Late for Flu Shot</h2> <p> A sharp jump in flu cases in Washington, particularly in the western half of the state, over the last several weeks has put increased pressure on health care facilities. To ensure the state's emergency rooms and urgent care facilities can treat other critical health conditions in a timely manner, the Washington State Department of Health is <a href="">encouraging the public to learn</a> which flu symptoms require emergency medical treatment, and when they should stay home. The DOH is also emphasizing that it's not too late to get a flu shot and is urging vaccinations for everyone six months of age and up, including pregnant and nursing women, and also for health care providers in close contact with patients with suspected flu. </p> <p> More information about the flu season, including weekly updates and flu information for public health and health care professionals, can be found on the <a href="">DOH website</a>. </p> </div>4/5/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
upcoming_buprenorphine_waiver_trainingsUpcoming Buprenorphine Waiver TrainingsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/April/upcoming_buprenorphine_waiver_trainings<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/Buprenorphine-Butrans10mcg_645px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>April 5, 2019</h5> <h2>Upcoming Buprenorphine Waiver Trainings</h2> <p> The Department of Health has announced new dates and locations for its series of buprenorphine waiver trainings to help physicians and other clinicians qualify for the required waiver to prescribe the partial opioid agonist. Information for free online training is also now available. All trainings are accredited. </p> <p> The following in-person trainings, some at no cost, are coming up: </p> <p> <strong>Friday, May 17</strong><br /> Olympia<br /> 9 a.m.–1 p.m.<br /> Location: TBD<br /> Providence <br /> Faculty: Lucinda Grande/Kari Lima<br /> Course: AAAP<br /> Contact to register: <a href=""></a> </p> <p> <strong>Saturday, May 18</strong><br /> Colville<br /> 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.<br /> 1169 East Columbia Ave., Colville, WA 99141<br /> Providence <br /> Faculty: Mark Duncan, MD<br /> Course: AAAP<br /> Contact to register: <a href=""></a> </p> <p> <strong>Friday, May 31</strong><br /> Spokane<br /> 12:30–5 p.m.<br /> 1101 W College Ave., Spokane, WA 99201 <br /> Spokane Regional Health District <br /> Faculty: Caleb Holtzer<br /> Course: AAAP<br /> Contact to register: <a href=""></a> </p> <p> Completion of the four-hour in-person course, as well as a four-hour online follow up, allows physicians to prescribe buprenorphine for office-based treatment of opioid use disorder. These courses have been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™</em> by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry or American Society of Addiction Medicine. </p> <p> <a href="">Free training is also available online—for more information, visit the Providers Clinical Support System website</a>. </p> </div>4/5/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_apr_2_2019_standing_strong_for_patients_and_the_professionWeekly Rounds: Apr. 2, 2019 - Standing strong for patients and the professionLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_apr_2_2019_standing_strong_for_patients_and_the_profession<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly_Rounds_Article_Image_645x425.jpg" /></div> <h5>April 2, 2019</h5> <h2>Standing Strong for Patients and the Profession</h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> Last Saturday was Doctors' Day, and if you follow the WSMA (or me) on social media, then you saw our video tribute to you—our members. While we celebrate you every day, we had fun putting it together to show how much we value your commitment not only to your patients, but to the WSMA as well. In case you missed it, <a href="">I've linked to it here so you can enjoy</a>. </p> <p> Speaking of commitment, I want to give a special shout out to several of our members for their efforts supporting the WSMA and the profession. Last Friday, Chelsea Unruh, MD, and Mary Anderson, MD, traveled with me to Olympia to testify against the business and occupation (B&O) tax increase included in the House budget proposal (see more about that below). All three of us testified at the hearing, and you can <a href="">watch our testimonies here</a>. And this week, WSMA President Tom Schaaf, MD, and president-elect Bill Hirota, MD, are taking time away from their practices to travel with me to Washington, D.C., where we will advocate for WSMA's federal priorities. </p> <p> Taking the time out of your busy lives to engage on behalf of the profession and patients is not easy or convenient, but it truly does make a difference in shaping the future of medicine and health care in Washington state. Thank you! </p> <p> We are heading into the home stretch of the legislative session. Budget writing is underway with the release of both the House and Senate budgets. WSMA's priorities for the budget are securing an increase in Medicaid reimbursement, behavioral health funding, and staving off an increase to the B&O tax on physician services. </p> <p> Here's a rundown on what you need to know from the two budgets. </p> <h3>Highlights of the House budget</h3> <p> The House Democrats' package is a $52.8 billion budget that would increase state spending by 19 percent and rely on $1.4 billion in new taxes. Among the tax hikes being proposed is a 20 percent increase in the B&O service tax paid by physicians and other professionals, raising an estimated $427 million over the next two years, with the revenue going to fund new investments in higher education. </p> <p> The House budget makes numerous investments in behavioral health, including $225 million for the construction and staffing of a new teaching hospital at the University of Washington with the aim of strengthening the state's behavioral health workforce, including new psychiatric physician residency positions ($600,000). Multiple operating and capital investments are made to increase bed capacity for behavioral health services. There's also $3.6 million to create a tele-behavioral health video call center to provide physicians with on-demand access to psychiatric and substance-use disorder clinical consultation. </p> <p> The House plan provides roughly $15 million for a Medicaid payment increase for health, behavior, and psychotherapy codes, but not at a rate reflected in <a href="">Gov. Inslee's budget proposal released in December</a>. </p> <p> The House spending plan also provides no funds for increasing Medicaid payments for adult and pediatric primary care <a href="">as featured in the governor's budget</a>. Increasing Medicaid reimbursement is a priority for the WSMA, with a goal of increasing physician participation in the program while ensuring practice solvency. </p> <p> New public health funding proposals include $22 million for foundational public health services, continuing and expanding the state's maternity mortality review panel, and funding to implement Initiative 1639, which voters approved last year to address firearm safety. The budget also assumes passage of legislation to <a href="">increase the purchase age</a> for tobacco and vapor products to 21, as well as legislation to <a href="">remove the personal and philosophical exemptions</a> for the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine—both priority policies for the WSMA. </p> <p> Elsewhere, funding is maintained for medical education victories from past budget cycles, including physician residencies and health professional student loan repayment. Reconciliation of Medicaid payments for rural health care facilities is retroactively addressed, holding clinics harmless for the 2011-13 timeframe and holding action on subsequent years until the 2020 session at the earliest. And an $18.8 million appropriation is made from the state's health professions account, composed of licensure fees from physicians and other health care professionals, for a new licensing system. This comes at a time when physicians are facing <a href="">a substantial fee increase that the WSMA is opposing</a>. </p> <h3>Toplines from the Senate budget</h3> <p> Senate Democrats unveiled their spending plan Friday afternoon. The $52.2 billion proposal is similar in many regards to the House budget, making considerable investments in behavioral health and assuming the establishment of a state capital gains tax. One key difference between the two proposals is that the Senate did not include a B&O tax increase on physician services. </p> <p> Notable items in the Senate budget include stepped-up investments in medical education, with a new $2 million mental health scholarship program for behavioral health practitioners, on top of maintaining medical residency funding and increasing funding for health professional student loan repayment. A new tax on vapor products would go toward funding tobacco prevention and foundational public health. And like the House budget, there are numerous items intended to improve the delivery of mental health care, including increasing bed capacity and establishing a Partnership Access Line for schools. </p> <p> Of concern in the Senate budget is $150 million in assumed savings for the state's Medicaid program, making reference to increased oversight of fraud, waste, and abuse of the system. At this point, it is unclear what impact the proposal would have on physicians and on access to care for Medicaid enrollees. And unfortunately, neither the Senate nor the House budgets include meaningful Medicaid reimbursement increases, making it likely that the legislature will once again fail to address this important issue. </p> <h3>What's next</h3> <p> When budget proposals are aligned on an issue, it's a strong sign that it will be included in the final budget agreement. That's promising for the prospect of legislation to increase the purchase age for tobacco and vapor products to 21, a top priority of the WSMA (<a href="">House Bill 1074</a>). That bill has passed out of both houses, and its next stop is the governor's desk for his signature. </p> <p> There's also funding in both budgets to extend and expand the state's maternity mortality review panel, a program that the WSMA helped establish in 2016. </p> <p> With four weeks to go in the 2019 legislative session, focus will turn to ironing out wrinkles in policy proposals and reconciling differences between the budget proposals. Chief among the items the WSMA will focus on is working to prevent a B&O tax increase on physician services, and policy bills pertaining to vaccine exemptions, the creation of a state public insurance option, and addressing the opioid epidemic. As ever, your WSMA advocacy team will be at the capitol full time, ensuring that the voice of the physician community is well represented. </p> <p> Check out our <a href="">latest advocacy update video here</a>, and stay tuned for more in the days and weeks ahead. And when you receive a call to action from the WSMA, please click the button to "take action." It matters. </p> </div>4/2/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM

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